The following story is an excerpt from the original on The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute (FBRI) at VTC (Virginia Tech Carilion) replaced its information technology (IT) system as one of the foundational steps that, within the next few years, will allow the research center to double its research capacity with the addition of more than 25 new labs.

The immediate benefit, though, was more data storage and faster data transfer capabilities that improved the data analysis speeds for its existing researchers.

“Data is the currency and lifeblood of scientific research. We needed to respond to the concerns of exponential data growth, to store and present data in an intuitive and non-intrusive way, and to manage and protect stored data without impacting daily operations,” Jason Krisch, director of Information Technology, explained in a case study.

Elaborating in an interview with BioSpace, Krisch said, “Now all researchers’ data is online, so they have access to both current and historical data.” Before the transition, a researcher needing historical data had to call the IT department and ask a technician to find and spin-up a disk. That could take hours or even overnight.

The new system (designed and installed by Qumulo) eliminated data silos, thus helping researchers find and share data.

“We were able to organize the data so researchers can find it easily,” Krisch said. “For example, all the labs have a single lab share and can break out projects into project-specific directories. We are moving away from smaller block storage and eliminating file servers, so the labs now have larger amounts of storage available to them. They don’t have to worry about using up their quota.”

Data transmission speeds improved noticeably, too. 40gb ethernet replaced the legacy 8gb fiber channel, allowing more bandwidth so uploads and downloads and noticeably faster. Next, Fralin and its IT partner Qumulo plan to install 100gb connectivity between the storage and compute nodes of the network.

As a result of the upgrades, “Researchers can access, analyze, and process their data more quickly,” Krisch pointed out. He estimated the return on investment as a matter of months, and noted that the facility still has extra data capacity.

Already one of the fastest-growing research centers in the U.S., the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute currently has 33 core lab teams, including teams dedicated to biomaterials, body device interfaces, brain research, cancer, cardiovascular science, infectious diseases and immunity, metabolism and obesity, addiction recovery, and children’s health. Its research grant portfolio totaled $114 million in 2019.

Read the rest of the story on to learn how Fralin Biomedical enhanced data protection and improved performance, while solving its biggest challenge–ensuring ample research capacity. 

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